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How to Find Adoption Records Online

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While there's no way to access actual "adoption records" online, there are resources and databases that have been created by citizens for the purpose of reuniting biological relatives.

If you'd like to locate either a birthparent or biological child, there's a few ways to go about it - but be pre-warned, it can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially if it's not in your budget to hire location services or intermediaries. You also have to be prepared for whatever you might find, as well as understand why you want to conduct this search in the first place.

This article will briefly explain what you need to do, and there's resource links (and searchable databases) listed below as well.

To begin, you'll want to document basic details about yourself that you can potentially use to "match" to other records that will come up as you progress with your search. This includes things like the hospital where you were born (or where your child was born), the date of birth, the agency that handled the adpotion process and any other important details that you currently know or have access to regarding the initial adoption.

In general, your first priority is to determine the name(s) of either the birthparents or the child, depending on your situation.

If you were adopted as a child and are now seeking to find your birthparents, the source that's most likely to have valuable information to you would be your adoptive parents. Start with them and obtain as much information as you can.

The next step in either situation (as adoptee or birthparents) is to obtain "non-identifying information" about the other person from the applicable government agency in your state. See the resource links below for details on how to get this data.

Once you have those records, it's time to start registering with all of the available "mutual consent" registries in case your biological parent/child has also registered, or in case they decide to at some point in the future. Again, see our resources below for details.

If you have the budget, you may also want to consider hiring a Confidential Intermediary (CI) service/professional to act on your behalf to legally communicate with each party of the initial adoption agreement to see if the child or birthparent wishes to amend the agreement to allow for the waiver of the original confidentiality conditions, as is relevant to the situation.

CI's are trained to mediate such cases, and act with legal/court approval.

If/when you're able to determine the other party's name during your search process, you can then use the same steps you'd take to locate a person.

Get started with your adoption search right below...

Nationwide Adoption Records Resources:

International Soundex Reunion Registry - This is the largest adoption "reunion" registry, and has been active since 1975 as a non-profit service for people seeking family members.

About.com Adoption Registry List - This is a detailed directory of the major adoption registries and services.

AdoptionDatabase.org (Advanced Search) - Another large and comprehensive adoption records archive. Searching is free, and registering your own data is donation-supported.

Directory of State Agencies With Adoption Records - Choose your state on the map to see what kind of process exists for applying for adoption records in that state. Specific office contact details are also provided.. Note: There are restrictions on what kind of access you may have to a given record. Only AL, AK, KS, NH & OR are "open records" states when it comes to adoption. Other states have varying laws but will usually release non-identifying information upon request.

Find a Professional Adoption Researcher - Also provided by adoption.com is a referral service where they connect you with a professional in your local area. Fill out and submit the form on this page to get started.

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